Thursday, 7 February 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I will raise one issue. This morning at 10 a.m., the Joint Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government launched its report examining the potential impacts of Brexit on Ireland's housing market. I acknowledge the enormous amount of work done by Deputy Maria Bailey, the Chairman of the committee on which all political groups in the House are represented. It is an important report and I urge people to pick up a copy today. I believe copies are being printed. The report was launched in the audiovisual room at which there was a very good attendance. There was also a good deal of media interest in it.
I will focus on one of the key points, namely, the issue of encouraging skilled crafts people to return to this country. One of the main issues highlighted in the report, which became very clear from the contributions of stakeholders and others who came before the committee, was the shortage of skilled workers in the economy. Another problem is that some people who wish to return are unable to do so because renting accommodation is so difficult.
We need to attract skilled workers, be they plasterers, plumbers, electricians, engineers or architects, to this country to put their shoulder to the wheel as we implement Rebuilding Ireland and address the housing crisis, including the lack of social and affordable homes, and problems in the construction sector. That is one of the report's 14 strong recommendations.
The other side of that is how we can crank up apprenticeships and what many of us would have known as the vocational education model. This is a very good model as it allows young people aged 16 or 17 who are interested to start apprenticeships and develop skills. How can we support young men and women who want to take on a trade and feed into what will be a major challenge in terms of Rebuilding Ireland and building homes for people. All of that is addressed in one of the 14 key recommendations in this report. The Leader has expressed views on this issue previously. As we get Brexit ready, perhaps this would be an opportune time to debate the report in the House. There are many facets to Brexit and it will present challenges for agriculture, forestry, the construction sector and so on. In the coming weeks., we might debate aspects of these challenges, including this report.